How fast is your ecommerce project?
Don’t get mad at me, but I’m not going to talk about page load speeds or user response times in today’s blog post.
No doubt website performance is an extremely important topic, and will make or break your B2B eCommerce project, but that’s not what’s on my mind today. What I want to talk about today was inspired by a Focus Group we held with our friends at PARI (and their customers) this past week. I want to talk about the importance of the speed of the whole Magento integrated SAP B2B ecommerce implementation project itself.
Here’s the timeline.
April 26 – Contract signed.
May 9 – Onsite project kickoff with a live b2b2dot0 service integrated with PARI’s QA SAP system in Germany
May 30 – First Focus Group of PARI’s personalized b2b2dot0 service with internal PARI stakeholders
June 13 – Second Focus Group of Magento integrated b2b2dot0 service with PARI pilot customers.
Six weeks from “Hi, my name is Sam and I’m looking forward to working with you” to being able to “login to your personalized Magento catalog, learn about PARI products, determine their contract pricing and availability and place and track the order in real time into SAP”.
OK. There are still a few week’s worth of work (data clean up and testing testing testing) left before we can push everything into production. But I’d say we’re 95% done.
We at b2b2dot0 take this speed for granted. But it’s UNHEARD of in the industry!!! No one else can, nor are they incentivized, to finish projects this quickly.
We push for quick projects for several reasons:
- Don’t leave value in the conference room – every day that a website isn’t in production is another day of inefficiencies in customer service and frustrated customers. Better to reap some value than no value at all!
- “Perfection is the enemy of the good” – Scope creep will kill a project. The longer a project is in development, the more people will seek perfection…try and solve that obscure use case, tweak that error message 18 times etc.
- Websites should be complete but they are never done – You will always be evolving the website. Always. Might as well get into the habit right away by putting something out there and going right into the rhythm of planning and executing the next release.
- Gain momentum – Every organization needs a morale booster. Launching a website quickly…and getting the positive feedback from your customers…will nourish you for the journey that still lies ahead (see #3).
- Less blah blah blah – more action! I hate talking about what we should do, how we’re going to do it, what it should look like. Got a problem with the way something is behaving? Fix it now! Not important enough to deal with it right away? Let’s not get distracted by talking about it and let’s focus on something that is important to our Go live.
And PARI’s customers? What did they think of their new channel of interaction?
“This takes you to the next level of customer service. I know how hard it is to do… This is great!”
“I’m a big web user. My daughter has a kindle. My mom has a kindle. I’ve been doing that for years. I live 10 minutes from the mall but I do everything online first. This information sharing I really really really love and I know our staff will love this! We can respond in seconds now where it used to be hours in the past. Bravo!”
“The most important thing for me is the live data and being able to check it online and not have to go through the six calls is excellent for me!”
Moral of the story?
Speed matters. Projects should be short and focused on delivering real value. Oh yeah, it helps when you pick a partner whose technology, people and business model are aligned with your desire to deliver real value quickly.